Opinion: City & Guilds disappointed by missed opportunity for face-to-face careers advice

Opinion: City & Guilds responds to the Education Select Committee’s report on careers guidance for young people

24 April 2013

City & Guilds welcomes the Government’s response to the Education Select Committee’s report on careers guidance for young people. It is essential that young people have access to high-quality careers advice about a range of career options, so that they are able to realise their potential as well as meet the chronic skills gap that exists in our economy.

However, City & Guilds is disappointed that the Government did not place the need for face-to-face careers advice on a more statutory footing and were not willing to accept the Committee’s wish to introduce an annual careers plan. The Government’s reassurance that ‘provision by web chat, by telephone and online is simple and fast to access’ is welcome, but is by no means a substitute for a multi-targeted approach that includes face-to-face careers advice and personal interviews.

City & Guilds CEO and Director-General, Chris Jones said: ‘Technology-enabled careers advice is important, but in isolation it isn’t enough to help an individual decide on a career path. We cannot underestimate the importance of personalised support and peer-to-peer guidance. We won’t make future employees job-ready through YouTube clips alone.’

In addition, City & Guilds welcomes the Government’s agreement with the Committee that ‘young people need better advice on apprenticeships’.

Chris Jones stated: ‘Better advice on apprenticeships is a step in the right direction, but we would like to see guarantees that this information is balanced and independent. We must counter the perverse incentive that exists in many schools to retain pupils at sixth form.’

City & Guilds also welcomes the Government’s support of employer visits to schools. City & Guilds asked young people their views in its Ways Into Work research (May 2012), and found that 88% of 16-18 year olds believe an employer was the most useful source of careers advice.

Alongside this, City & Guilds recommends that young people have access to informed, peer-to-peer support. For example, City & Guilds’ apprentices are piloting a programme that does just this; they are visiting schools and sharing their own experiences with young people.

Chris Jones stated: ‘Young people must be given the support they need to make the right choices to suit their interests, talents and aspirations. Despite useful inroads, the Government’s current careers advice provision still falls short of achieving this.’


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